Nineteen hours. In nineteen hours I'll be on a plane headed across the country. To say I'm excited would be an understatement. Some of you may not know why I'm going so far away for a three day expo, or what E3 even is. I guess now is a good time to explain.
E3 is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, arguably the most important annual event in the video game industry. Game companies big and small from all across the world gather in LA to announce new products, build hype for their games, and demo new games and prototypes. This isn't a nerd convention where people dress up and talk about how much they love games. E3 is the heart of the industry. Video game celebrities, innovators, designers, etc will all be in attendance. And I get to meet them.
It's worth mentioning that video games have evolved far beyond the superficial entertainment medium they once were. The overwhelming popularity of games have forced developers to become more and more creative to get their newest title to sell. Sure, there are the big corporate companies repackaging last years game with a new title and a few new features for no other reason than to bring in some cash (*cough*CoD*cough*Madden*cough*), but looking past those we see the artistic indie games (Bit.Trip, World of Goo, Minecraft) and the games that redefine and create new genres (Portal 2, Borderlands). Developers must come up with radical new ideas at an extremely fast pace to survive, and being at the epicenter of these productions is a dream come true.
No really, it is.
I've been talking about going to E3 for years. Ever since I was old enough to care about press conferences and announcements, I hoped to find my way to the convention one year despite the hefty price tag and 3000 miles between me and it. Making matters worse, E3 is an industry only event; that is, only people who can prove direct connection to the gaming industry are allowed to purchase a pass. There was a period of time during which E3 was almost cancelled- massive downsizing and uncertainty about following years made the dream seem like an impossibility. However, in a glorious fashion, E3 was revived and my lovely brother-in-law and his friend have offered me a chance to check this one off my list. Needless to say, it took no time at all for me to make my decision.
In closing, I offer an excellent quote from a Kotaku article on Portal 2, explaining what exactly makes the game (and video games in general) so wonderful. (Full Article)
"As important as writing, storytelling, music and voice-acting are, play is the thing that makes a game a game. Play is why we are so passionate about these odd digital artifacts, why we spend so much time talking and reading and carrying on about them."